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In the first part of this series, we discussed six common parameters that help you determine if an application is a well-suited candidate for virtualization. Building on this information, we will combine some of these parameters to define common use cases for Application Virtualization[1].
 
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Building effective scenarios
 

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Focus on this category first. This is where you can achieve high efficiency gains!
 
Applications in this category can be considered the industry or global standard and they are used by the majority of end-users in the environment. Since these products are often the target of malicious activities, vendors frequently release updates to mitigate security risks (approx. every 4-6 weeks).
Reduce the risks of deploying software updates and eliminate the requirement to restart the end-users’ computers after applying updates. Revisit your Patch Management process and make adjustments to allow for central management of applications and patches because of virtualization.
   
Stand-alone applications without any dependencies to locally installed products are prime candidates for virtualization. However, IT needs to evaluate the suitability for virtualization on a per-application basis (relevance of vendor support).

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During the upgrade phase of a software product, end-users might need access to the current and the previous version of an application to edit documents in legacy file formats. Running multiple versions of an application side-by-side can also prove to be a challenging task in environments with a significant percentage of software developers.

The isolation of virtualized applications in individual containers allows running these products in parallel on the same computer system. The requirement for regression tests is eliminated because the isolated application environments cannot access each other. This scenario also helps IT to reduce server silos (where only one version of an application can be installed), directly lowering hard- and software costs.

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This category is all about reducing the time for delivery and configuration while achieving standardization.

In addition to standard software, various applications support the activities of the Lines of Business (e.g. CAD, DTP, and IDE tools). Many of these applications require a complex set of installation procedures and even post-install configuration. Besides the lack of scalability, this also results in diverging configurations across the environment, adding additional complexity to any software update and IT support endeavor.
In the software development area, a bundle of applications might be required. Installing prerequisites like middleware and other environment-specific configurations costs valuable time if each developer has to set up their development environment individually.

In this scenario, virtualizing the application helps IT reduce complexity, provide the necessary tools to the end-user faster, and establish standardization. IT centrally creates, configures, and tests the virtualized package and eliminates the need for end-users to individually make setting changes. Even if the expected install base might be below your thresholds for packaging, spending the time to virtualize the product might justify the actions (compared to the time spent for individual configuration).
Although not necessarily a complex installation, virtualization can reduce the installation time for large packages (e.g. DTP tools). A single large file is usually copied to disk faster than hundreds of small files.

 
 
In the next post, we will talk about 4 additional scenarios for developing a successful Application Virtualization strategy.
 
 

[1] Andreas Welsch – Applikationsvirtualisierung – Untersuchung geeigneter Einsatzbereiche als Ergänzung oder Alternative bestehender Softwareverteilungs- und -installationsverfahren sowie prototypische Umsetzung (“Application Virtualization – Evaluation of potential usage scenarios as an addition or alternative to existing software deployment and installation procedures, and prototypical implementation”) – August 2010
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